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Cruise worker: consider career at sea

Sherlrina Thomas found her dream job working in the cruise ship industry

A young woman who has just returned from “the experience of a lifetime” is encouraging young Bermudians to consider a career at sea.

Sherlrina Thomas, 25, spent close to eight months working as a guest services officer aboard Royal Caribbean’s ‘Legend of the Seas’ cruise ship and decided to extend her contract so that she could see more countries — primarily Australia, which was her “bucket list continent”.

During the trip, Ms Thomas visited 43 countries including Canada, the United States, the Caribbean Islands, Hawaii, Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, Columbia, New Caledonia, Australia, Indonesia, French Polynesian Islands, and Singapore. Her favourite destination of all was Bali.

She said in a statement released by the Department of Workforce Development: “Words can’t express the feeling of seeing Bali and meeting her people, eating the food, walking the temples, enjoying the tranquil scenery and experiencing their diverse culture.

“Crossing the International Dateline was a very interesting experience too. It was like going back to the future when calling home as I had literally experienced that part of the day already and they now had to catch me up!”

Ms Thomas said she heard about the opportunity to join Royal Caribbean in February 2014. She attended Royal Caribbean’s local recruitment drive organised by the Department of Workforce Development.

“I was becoming bored and feeling isolated in my own country and had been praying for something more, and this seemed to be it,” she said.

“My nerves were all over the place on the day [of the recruitment drive] as I was the last person to be seen. The lady skimmed my resume and asked me about my career choice, my degree and my past work experience. She advised that there was a position of group coordinator that I would be perfect for.”

Ms Thomas had an interview via Skype and the department continued to check on her progress during her time on board the ship.

Her role included greeting the passengers and providing guest account services.

“My job was basically the equivalent to a front desk agent in our hotels,” she explained.

“One needs to be quick on their feet, very knowledgeable of all ship operations, be an excellent problem-solver no matter how complicated the situation may be, and always be ready to go the extra mile.”

While there were no other Bermudians working on board, she said she never felt alone: “This experience gave me an opportunity to mingle with persons from other countries and make some lasting friendships,” she said.

“My two closest friends hail from Guyana and Ecuador while others are from the United Kingdom, Romania, Portugal, Philippines, Ukraine, Malaysia, China, Colombia, Spain, and Tunisia. You’re never really alone.”

Ms Thomas has been researching universities and their online MBA programmes, specifically with concentrations in either hospitality or project management.

Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy stated: “Ms Thomas is the perfect example of a young lady who has turned her dreams into reality by taking a chance on the unknown and seizing an opportunity.”

Ms Thomas added: “I’d like to thank the Department of Workforce Development for the opportunity to share my experience upon the Legend of the Seas, and look forward to meeting and hearing of more Bermudians taking on the opportunity as well.”